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For current information on this topic, see 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates season.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Established 1882
NLC-PIT-Logo.png
Team logo
NLC-PIT-Insignia.png
Cap Insignia
Major league affiliations

Central Division (1994–present)

Current uniform
NLC-Uniform-PIT.PNG
Retired Numbers 1, 4, 8, 9, 11, 20, 21, 33, 40, 42
Colors
  • Black, gold, white

              

Name
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (1891–present)
(Also referred to as "Infants" in 1890 and Pittsburg for a time)
Other nicknames
  • The Bucs, The Buccos
Ballpark
Major league titles
World Series titles (5) 1909 • 1925 • 1960 • 1971
1979
NL Pennants (9) 1901 • 1902 • 1903 • 1909
1925 • 1927 • 1960 • 1971
1979
Central Division titles (0) None
East Division titles (9) 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1974
1975 • 1979 • 1990 • 1991
1992
Wild card berths (0) None
Owner(s): Robert Nutting, others
Manager: John Russell
General Manager: Neal Huntington

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League, and are five-time World Series Champions, in addition to the distinction of playing in the first modern World Series. The Pirates are also often referred to as the Bucs or sometimes the Buccos (derived from buccaneer).

Contents

Franchise history

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19th century

Professional baseball has been played in the Pittsburgh area since 1876. The teams of the era were "independents", barnstorming throughout the region and not affiliated with any organized league, though they did have salaries and were run as a business organization.[1] In 1882 the strongest team in the area joined the American Association as a founding member. Their various home fields in the 19th century were in a then-separate city called Allegheny City, across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. The team was listed as "Allegheny" in the standings, and was sometimes called the "Alleghenys" (not the "Alleghenies") in the same generic way that teams from Boston, New York, and Chicago were sometimes called the "Bostons", the "New Yorks", and the "Chicagos", in the sportswriting style of that era. After five mediocre seasons in the A.A., Pittsburgh became the first A.A. team to switch to the older National League in 1887. At this time, the team renamed itself the Pittsburgh Alleghenys,[2] although Allegheny remained a separate city until it was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907. At that time, owner-manager Horace Phillips sold the team to Dennis McKnight; Phillips stayed on as manager.[3]

In those early days, the club benefited three times from mergers with defunct clubs. The A.A. club picked up a number of players from a defunct Columbus, Ohio, team in 1885.

The Alleghenys were severely crippled during the 1890 season, when nearly all of their stars jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players' League. With a decimated roster, the team experienced what is still the worst season in franchise history, going 23–113.[4] The battle nearly ruined McKnight, and he was forced to return his franchise to the league. However, almost immediately after this, McKnight joined the backers of the Burghers as a minority owner, which then repurchased the Pittsburgh National League franchise and rechartered it under a different corporate name. They were thus able to legally recover the services of most of the players who had jumped to the upstart league a year earlier.[3]

The new owners also signed several players from American Association teams. One of them was highly regarded second baseman Lou Bierbauer, who had previously played with the A.A.'s Philadelphia Athletics. The Athletics failed to include him on their reserve list, and the Alleghenys picked him up. This led to loud protests by the Athletics, and in an official complaint, an AA official claimed the Alleghenys' actions were "piratical".[5] This incident (which is discussed at some length in The Beer and Whisky League, by David Nemec, 1994) quickly accelerated into a schism between the leagues that contributed to the demise of the A.A. Although the Alleghenys were never found guilty of wrongdoing, they made sport of being denounced for being "piratical" by renaming themselves "the Pirates" for the 1891 season.[2] The nickname was first acknowledged on the team's uniforms in 1912.

After the 1899 season, the Pirates made what is arguably the best player transaction in franchise history when they picked up nearly all of the star players from the Louisville Colonels. Louisville owner Barney Dreyfuss had been told that the Colonels were slated for elimination when the N.L. contracted from 12 to 8 teams. He secretly purchased a half-interest in the Pirates, then after the season sent nearly all of the Colonels' stars up the Ohio River to Pittsburgh. Since the transaction occurred before the Colonels officially folded, it was structured as a trade; the Pirates sent four relatively unknown players to Louisville.[3] Despite their nickname, the Pirates at least waited until after the season to pull off this blockbuster trade. This is unlike what happened in 1899 to the Cleveland Spiders and, to a lesser extent, the Baltimore Orioles, who were also part of two-team ownerships. Dreyfuss later bought full control of the team and kept it until his death in 1932.

1901–1945

Bolstered by former Colonels shortstop Honus Wagner (who was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area) and player/manager Fred Clarke, the Pirates completely dominated the National League, in part because they lost few star players to the rival American League. However, owing to injuries to their starting pitchers, they lost the first modern World Series ever played, in 1903 to Boston. Deacon Phillippe pitched five complete games, winning three of them, but it was not enough. With largely the same star players, the Pirates would continue to be a strong team over the next few years, and got their first World Series title in 1909, defeating the Detroit Tigers in seven games, the same year they opened Forbes Field.

The 1909 Pirates in a poster celebrating their National League pennant. Frank Chance of the Chicago Cubs and John McGraw of the New York Giants, two teams the Pirates beat for the pennant, are being made to walk the plank.

The Pirates originally played in Recreation, Union and Exposition Parks, all in what was then Allegheny City. Allegheny City was annexed by Pittsburgh in December, 1907. Accordingly, the Pirates did not play their first major league game in Pittsburgh until 1908—over 25 years after their founding.[6]

The decline of Honus Wagner, considered by many to be the greatest shortstop ever, led to a number of losing seasons, culminating in a disastrous 51–103 record in 1917; however, veteran outfielder Max Carey and young players Pie Traynor and Kiki Cuyler, along with a remarkably deep pitching staff, brought the Pirates back into the spotlight. The Pirates recovered from a 3–1 deficit to win the 1925 World Series over the Washington Senators, and reached the 1927 World Series before losing in a sweep to the New York Yankees, who at that time had built the most dominant team in baseball. The 1927 season was the first for the sharp-hitting combination of brothers Lloyd Waner and Paul Waner, who along with shortstop Arky Vaughan ensured that the Pirates had plenty of Hall of Fame-caliber position players through 1941. However, the Pirates' crushing defeats of 1927 and 1938 (they lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs in the final days of the 1938 season) were tremendous setbacks.

1946–1969

The post-World War II years were not kind to the Pirates, despite the presence of a genuine star in Ralph Kiner, who led the National League in home runs for seven consecutive seasons (1946 through 1952). But while Forbes Field attendance rose to among the top in the NL, the team around Kiner placed in the first division only one time—in 1948—and in 1952 compiled one of the worst records in major league history, winning 42 and losing 112 games (.273) and finishing 54½ games out of first place. In 1946, the long era of ownership by the Barney Dreyfuss family came to an end when it sold the team to a syndicate headed by Indianapolis businessman Frank McKinney and including entertainer Bing Crosby. By 1950, Columbus, Ohio-based real estate tycoon John W. Galbreath emerged as majority owner, and his family would run the team for another 35 years and supervise its rise to the top of the NL.

Galbreath's first major move, the hiring of Branch Rickey as general manager after the 1950 campaign, was initially a great disappointment to Pittsburgh fans. Rickey had invented the farm system with the Cardinals and broken the baseball color line with the Dodgers—and built dynasties at each club. But in Pittsburgh, he purged the Pirates' roster of its higher-salaried veterans (including Kiner in 1953) and flooded the team with young players. Many of those youngsters faltered; however, those who fulfilled Rickey's faith in them—pitchers Vern Law, Bob Friend and Elroy Face, shortstop Dick Groat, second baseman Bill Mazeroski, and especially outfielder Roberto Clemente, drafted from Brooklyn after his only minor league season (1954)—would form the nucleus of the Pirates' 1960 championship club. Moreover, as in St. Louis and Brooklyn before, Rickey put into place one of baseball's most successful farm and scouting systems that kept the Pirates competitive into the late 1970s. But all this was not evident when Rickey retired due to ill health in 1955, with the Pirates still struggling to escape the NL basement.

The postwar Pirates would have only one winning season until 1958, Danny Murtaugh's first full season as their manager. Murtaugh is widely credited for inventing the concept of the closer by frequently playing pitcher Elroy Face late in close games. The 1960 team featured eight All-Stars, but was widely predicted to lose the World Series to a powerful New York Yankees team. In one of the most memorable World Series in history, the Pirates were defeated by ten or more runs in three games, won three close games, then recovered from a 7–4 deficit late in Game 7 to eventually win on a walk-off home run by Mazeroski, a second baseman better known for defensive wizardry. (The 1960 Pirates were the only team between 1945 and 2001 to have not succumbed to the so-called "Ex-Cubs Factor" in the postseason. They were also unique for winning a World Series on a home run, a feat duplicated by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993, though it should be noted that Joe Carter's home run came in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series--Mazeroski's is the only Game 7 walk-off in World Series history.)

The 1960s would continue with extremely solid defensive play by Mazeroski and the first Puerto Rican superstar, Roberto Clemente. Clemente was regarded as one of the game's best all-time hitters, and possessed a tremendous arm in right field. Although not the first black-Hispanic baseball player (an honor belonging to Minnie Miñoso), Clemente's charisma and leadership in humanitarian causes made him an icon across the continent. During his playing career, Clemente was often overlooked. Looking back, however, many consider Clemente to have been one of the greatest right fielders in baseball history.

Even with Clemente, however, the Pirates struggled to post winning marks from 1961–64, and Murtaugh was replaced by Harry Walker in 1965. With Walker, a renowned batting coach, at the helm—and the hitting of Clemente, Matty Alou, Manny Mota and others—the Pirates fielded contending, 90-plus win teams in both 1965 and 1966. However, Pittsburgh had no answer for the pitching of the Dodgers and the Giants, and finished third each season. In 1967, they fell back to .500, and did not contend through the rest of the 1960s.

1970–1979 and "The Family"

1970–74

Slugger Willie Stargell became a fixture in the Pittsburgh lineup in the late 1960s, and the Pirates returned to prominence in 1970. Murtaugh returned as manager and the Pirates' home field, Forbes Field, was demolished in favor of the multi-purpose Three Rivers Stadium. In 1970, the Pirates won their first of five division titles over the next seven years, and won their fourth World Series in 1971 behind a .414 Series batting average by Clemente. They also thought they had a genuine superstar pitcher (historically rare for the Pirates) in Steve Blass, who pitched two masterful games in the World Series against Baltimore and had excellent seasons in 1968 and 1972.

In 1971, the Pirates also became the first Major League Baseball team to field an all-black starting lineup.[7] That lineup, on September 1, was Rennie Stennett, Gene Clines, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jackie Hernandez, and Dock Ellis.[8]

Clemente died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 while accompanying a shipment of relief supplies to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. He had reached the milestone of 3,000 career hits, a standup double, just a few months earlier, on September 30, 1972, in what would prove to be his last regular-season hit. The Baseball Hall of Fame waived its usual waiting requirement and inducted Clemente immediately. Pittsburgh would eventually erect a statue and name a bridge and park near the stadium after him, as well as a street in the Oakland neighborhood near the former site of Forbes Field. In 1973, Blass suffered a mysterious breakdown in his pitching abilities and posted an outrageous 9.85 ERA. To this day, pitchers who suddenly lose the ability to throw strikes are said to have "Steve Blass disease." Some speculated that the emotional shock of his friend Clemente's death contributed to his breakdown. He retired soon afterwards; he has since been one of the Pirates' radio and TV announcers for almost two decades.

1975–78

The Pirates would make the playoffs in 1974 and 1975, but they lost to Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds each time, respectively. Around this time, the speedy Omar Moreno and the power-hitting Dave Parker would join Stargell in the lineup. After the 1976 season where the Pirates finished in 2nd place, Danny Murtaugh died. A trade was made with the Oakland Athletics where catcher Manny Sanguillen was traded for manager Chuck Tanner. The Pirates would finish in 2nd once again in 1977 with Parker winning a batting title. It was also in 1977 where the Pirates would begin using the yellow and black uniforms with their pillbox caps. Willie Stargell would award teammates with "Stargell Stars" on their caps for excellent plays on the field. The following year, the Pirates turned the end of the 1978 season into an impromptu pennant race for the NL East, as they tried to chase down the collapsing Philadelphia Phillies, who ultimately won the division, only to fall short during the final home stand of the season (ironically against the Phillies). Despite this, Dave Parker would win another batting title and a National League MVP to go with it.

1979

Adopting the popular song "We Are Family" by the Philadelphia disco group Sister Sledge as their theme song, the 1979 Pirates held off the Montreal Expos to claim the pennant. "We Are Family" was elevated from theme song to anthem status (and is still nearly synonymous with the '79 Pirates), with fans chanting "Fam-a-lee!" from the stands. The Pirates faced the Baltimore Orioles again in the World Series, which (like 1971) they won in seven games, on October 17, 1979. During the 1979 championship season, a Pirate player was designated as Most Valuable Player in every available category: All-Star Game MVP (Dave Parker), NL Championship Series MVP (Willie Stargell), World Series MVP (Willie Stargell), and National League MVP (Willie Stargell, shared with Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals).

1980s and early 1990s: The Leyland era

Pirates clinch the Division Title in St.Louis 1990.

Following was a period of decline until the Pirates were regarded as the worst team in baseball during the mid-1980s. Jim Leyland took over as manager, and the Pirates gradually climbed out of the cellar behind mostly young and exciting players such as "outfield of dreams" Bobby Bonilla, Barry Bonds (also known as the "Killer B's" due to their prowess at the plate), and Andy Van Slyke; infielders Jay Bell, Steve Buechele, Mike LaValliere, Sid Bream, and Jose Lind; and pitchers Doug Drabek, John Smiley, and Stan Belinda.

As a rookie in 1982, Johnny Ray played in every game and was named the Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News.

In 1988, the young team finished 85–75 and seemed ready to compete for a pennant. However, the 1989 season was a major setback, with injuries depleting the squad and leading to a 5th-place finish. Among the low points of the season was a game on June 8, 1989, where the Pirates became the first team in major-league history to score 10 runs in the first inning and nevertheless lose the game.[9] Pirates broadcaster (and former pitcher) Jim Rooker famously vowed that if the team blew the lead, he would walk home from Philadelphia—a vow he fulfilled after the season while raising money for charity.[10]

The Pirates would win the first three division titles of the 1990s, but failed to advance to the World Series each time, the second two losing closely contested seven-game series to the Atlanta Braves.

1990s–2007: The McClatchy/Littlefield era

After the 1992 season, the front office set out to rebuild the team, giving up several high-payroll players in favor of a younger crew. The Pirates have been unable to produce a winning season since, accumulating a 17-year losing streak — the longest in any of the country's four major professional sports leagues.[11] The closest the Pirates have come to fielding a winning team during this period was the 1997 team, which finished second in the NL Central despite having a losing record and a payroll of $9 million. The 1997 team was eliminated from playoff contention during the season's final week.

2001–04

Aerial view of Three Rivers Stadium, Its final year in 2000.

In 2001, the Pirates opened a new stadium, PNC Park. Due to its simple concept and strategic usage of the Pittsburgh skyline, it is frequently regarded as currently the best park in baseball.[12]

General manager Dave Littlefield was installed July 13, 2001, midway through the 2001 season and began overhauling the team to comply with owner Kevin McClatchy's dictum to drastically reduce the payroll. Enigmatic but talented third baseman Aramis Ramírez was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2003 for a fairly minimal return under pressure to dump his $6 million salary for 2004, and he proceeded to become a star for the Cubs. Brian Giles was one of the National League's best hitters for several years, but he and his $9 million salary were also traded in 2003 to the San Diego Padres for youngsters Oliver Pérez, Jason Bay, and Cory Stewart. Pirate fans found this trade much more palatable in the short run, as Pérez led the majors in strikeouts per inning and Bay won the Rookie of the Year Award award in 2004, while Giles put up a subpar season by his standards. After the 2004 season, Jason Kendall went to the Oakland Athletics in a cross-exchange of high-salary players. Though this rash of trades has not been popular in Pittsburgh, it is generally accepted that it can mostly be attributed to the aforementioned "small market syndrome."

2005

Illustrating the Pirates' rebuilding efforts, at the close of the 2005 season, the team fielded the youngest roster in baseball, with an average age of 26.6. (The next youngest team was the Kansas City Royals, with an average age of 27.1.) During the course of the season, 14 players were called up from its Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, 12 of whom made their first major league appearance. On September 6, manager Lloyd McClendon was fired after 5 losing seasons as manager. On October 11, Jim Tracy was hired as the new manager.

2006

The 2006 season got off to a slow start with the Pirates losing their first six games. Manager Jim Tracy earned his first win as the new Pirate's skipper on April 9 against the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates hosted the All Star Game at PNC Park. The Pirates went into the game with a disastrous and disappointing 30–60 record. During the second half of the season, the Pirates made a successful turn around and finished the second half with a 37–35 record. This is the first time the Pirates have finished the second half of the season with a winning record since 1992. Third baseman Freddy Sanchez won the National League batting title for the 2006 season with an average of .344.

2007

2007 was a year of transition for the Pirates. After 52 seasons with Newsradio 1020 KDKA AM, the Pirates switched their flagstation affiliate to WPGB FM Newstalk 104.7.

In addition, Robert Nutting replaced McClatchy as majority owner, becoming the sixth majority owner in Pirates history. On July 6, 2007, Kevin McClatchy announced he was stepping down as the Pirates CEO at the end of the 2007 season.[13]

On September 7, 2007, Nutting fired general manager Dave Littlefield.[14]

2007–present

The Pittsburgh Pirates began to shape their organizational management team late in the 2007 season. On September 13, Frank Coonelly, chief labor counsel for Major League Baseball, was introduced as the team's new president.[15] On September 25, 2007, the Pirates announced the hiring of Neal Huntington, formerly a scout in the Cleveland Indians organization, as the team's new general manager.[16] On October 5, 2007, Jim Tracy was fired by the Pirates, leaving them with another search for a manager. Torey Lovullo had originally been named as a leading candidate for the position[17], but his name was gradually replaced by others in the minor league ranks, one being Ottawa Lynx manager John Russell, who eventually was named the new manager November 5, 2007. He had originally been the third base coach under previous manager Lloyd McClendon from 2003–2005 until he was fired by the previous General Manager Dave Littlefield.[18]

2008

As the Pirates once again failed to produce a winning record, the team began another round of rebuilding. Prior to the trade deadline, the Pirates made several deals that sent several accomplished veterans to other franchises. On July 26, 2008, the Pirates traded left fielder Xavier Nady and pitcher Dámaso Marté to the New York Yankees in return for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, and Jeff Karstens. Karstens began his career with the Pirates at 2–0 and came within 4 outs of pitching the first perfect game in franchise history on August 6, 2008.[19]

On July 31, Jason Bay was traded to the Boston Red Sox in a three-team deal that sent Manny Ramírez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris to the Pirates from the Dodgers and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen to the Pirates from the Red Sox.

On November 24, the Pirates signed Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel as undrafted free agents, making them the first Indian citizens to sign a contract with any American professional sports team.[20] Both men are pitchers, who were first spotted in the "Million Dollar Arm" contest organized in India by J.B. Bernstein earlier in 2008.

2009

The team continued to shed payroll, trade away its best players for prospects, and show no desire to build a contender in 2009. On June 3, the team's only 2008 All-Star Nate McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves for prospects Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernández.[21] On June 30, the team dealt Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals, as well as sending utility player Eric Hinske to the New York Yankees. This upset some Pirates players, including Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson, who questioned the direction of the team.[22] LaRoche was later traded to the Red Sox in exchange for minor leaguers Hunter Strickland and Argenis Díaz.[23] On July 29, Wilson was traded to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for shortstop Ronny Cedeño and Minor League players Jeff Clement, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, and Nathan Adcock. Also on July 29, the Pirates traded Sanchez to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Tim Alderson.[24]

On July 30, the Pirates traded pitchers John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Kevin Hart, and minor leaguers José Ascanio and Josh Harrison.[25]

On September 7, 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the Chicago Cubs 4-2. The loss was the Pirates' 82nd of the year, and it clinched for them the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in any North American professional sport.[11]

Current roster

Pittsburgh Pirates 2010 Spring Training roster
40-man roster Spring Training
non-roster invitees
Coaches/Other
Pitchers
Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Manager

Coaches

60-day disabled list

  • None


* Not on active roster
† 15-day disabled list
Roster updated February 10, 2010
TransactionsDepth Chart
More rosters

Players

Baseball Hall of Fame

Ford C. Frick Award recipients

Names in bold received the award based primarily on their work as Pirates broadcasters.

* Played as Pirates

Retired numbers

Pirate Billy Meyer.png
Billy Meyer,
Manager, 1948–1952
Pirates Ralph Kiner.png
Ralph Kiner,
OF, 1946–1953
Pirates Willie Stargell.png
Willie Stargell,
OF-1B, 1962–1982; Coach, 1985
Pirates Bill Mazeroski.png
Bill Mazeroski,
2B, 1956–1972; Coach, 1973

Pirates Danny Murtaugh.png
Danny Murtaugh,
IF, 1948–1951; Coach, 1956–1957;
Manager, 1957–1964, 1967, 1970–1973, 1973–1976
Pirates Pie Traynor.png
Pie Traynor,
3B, 1920–1934; Manager, 1934–1939
Pirates Roberto Clemente.png
Roberto Clemente,
OF, 1955–1972

Pirates Honus Wagner.png
Honus Wagner,
SS, 1900–1917; Manager, 1917; Coach, 1933–1951
(This was his number only as a coach)
Pirates Paul Waner.png
Paul Waner,
OF, 1926–1940
Pirates Jackie Robinson.png
Jackie Robinson*
*retired throughout all Major League Baseball

Franchise records

Won-loss records

First-in-MLB accomplishments

  • First franchise to win a World Series on a home run (1960 World Series) in the decisive 7th game. The only other team to meet this feat is the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993, who accomplished it in the 6th game of the Series (non-decisive, i.e. there would have been another game had they lost this one).
  • First ever Major League Baseball game broadcast on the radio, a game between the Pirates and the host Philadelphia Phillies aired August 5, 1921, on KDKA (AM) Pittsburgh. The Pirates won the game 8–5.
  • During the 1953 season, the Pirates became the first team to permanently adopt batting helmets on both offense and defense. These helmets resembled a primitive fiberglass “miner’s cap”. This was the mandate of general manager Branch Rickey, who also owned stock in the company producing the helmets. Under Rickey’s orders, all Pirate players had to wear the helmets both at bat and in the field. The helmets became a permanent feature for all Pirate hitters, but within a few weeks the team began to abandon their use of helmets in the field, partly because of their awkwardly heavy feel. Once the Pirates discarded the helmets on defense, the trend disappeared from the game.[26]
  • The first World Series night game was played in Three Rivers Stadium on October 13, 1971—eleven years to the day since Mazeroski's walk-off homer brought the Pirates their last World Series title in 1960. In this case, however, it was Game 4 between the Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles, rather than a decisive Game 7. Apparently, good things happen for the Pirates on this date, as they knotted the '71 Series at two games apiece on their way to their fourth title.
  • The first all-minority lineup in MLB history took the field on September 1, 1971.[27] The lineup was Rennie Stennett, Gene Clines, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jackie Hernandez, and Dock Ellis.[8]
  • The first combined extra inning no-hitter in MLB history took place at Three Rivers Stadium on July 12, 1997. Francisco Cordova (9 innings) and Ricardo Rincon (1 inning) combined to no-hit the Houston Astros, 3–0 in 10 innings. Pinch-hitter Mark Smith's three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning sealed the victory and the no-hitter for the Pirates. It remains the only such no-hitter to date.[28]
  • The Pirates became the first MLB team to sign Indian players when they acquired the non-draft free agents of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.[20][29] This was also seen by the Pirates General Manager as "not only add[ing] two prospects to our system but also hope to open a pathway to an untapped market."[30]
  • The Pirates became the first team in MLB history (as well as all professional sports) to have 17 consecutive losing seasons with their loss to the Chicago Cubs on September 7, 2009.[11]

Minor league affiliations

Radio and television

In 2007, the Pirates chose to end the longest relationship between a team and a radio station in American professional sports. KDKA first broadcast the Pirates on August 5, 1921; with Westinghouse foreman Harold Arlin behind the mic. Broadcasts ended in 1924, but returned in 1936. Except for a few years on WWSW in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Pirates were on KDKA for 61 years. KDKA's 50,000-watt clear channel enabled Pirates fans across the eastern half of North America at night to hear the games.

That changed for the 2007 season, when the Pirates moved to FM talk radio station WPGB. The Pirates cited the desire to reach more people in the 25–54 age bracket coveted by advertisers. The acquisition of the rights means that Clear Channel Communications holds the rights to every major sports team in Pittsburgh. The Pirates have long had a radio network that has extended across four states. Stations for the 2007 season include Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland radio broadcasters.[31]

Games are televised on Fox Sports Pittsburgh, the Pirates' cable television outlet since 1986, when it was known as KBL. There has been no over-the-air coverage of the Pirates since 2002, when some games were on WCWB. KDKA-TV aired Pirates games for 38 years (1957–1994). Games aired on WPXI from 1995 to 1996 and on WPGH-TV and WCWB from 1997 to 2002.

Announcers Greg Brown, Bob Walk, John Wehner, and Steve Blass shuttle between the radio and TV booths. Also, Tim Neverett began calling Pirates games in 2009 after Lanny Frattare, also known as the voice of the Pirates, retired after the 2008 season. He was the longest working announcer in Pirates history (33 seasons). Neverett, has called NHL, MLB, and Olympic games. His previous job was calling the Colorado Rockies in 2008.

On October 1, 2008, longtime play-by-play announcer Lanny Frattare retired after 33 seasons, having called Pirates' games since the 1976 season. He is the longest-tenured announcer in Pirates' history, surpassing the man he replaced, the late Bob Prince (28 seasons, 1948–1975).

On December 18, 2008, the Pirates hired former Colorado Rockies broadcaster Tim Neverett as the new play-by-play announcer. Neverett joined Greg Brown in calling Pirates games on radio and television.[32]

Logos & Uniforms

The Pirates have had many uniforms and logo changes over the years, with the only consistency being the "P" on the team's cap. It was adopted in the mid-1940s. Aside from style changes in the cap itself, the "P" logo has remained since.

The Pirates have long been innovators in baseball uniforms. In 1948, the team broke away from the patriotic "Red, White, & Blue" color scheme when they adopted the current black & gold color scheme, to match that of the colors of the Flag of Pittsburgh and, to a lesser extent at the time, the colors of the then-relatively unknown Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. While they weren't the first baseball team to do this, they were one of the first to do this permanently. Along with the San Francisco Giants, the Pirates are one of two pre-expansion National League teams that completely changed their colors, although red returned as an "accent color" in 1997 and remained until 2009.

In the late 1950s, the team adopted sleeveless jerseys. While not an innovation by the team (that honor goes to the Cincinnati Reds), the Pirates did help to popularize the look. The team brought back the vested jerseys in 2001, a style they retained until 2009, although the away jerseys said "Pittsburgh" in script instead of "Pirates." In 2009, they introduced a new home, away and alternate black jersey all with sleeves. However, they kept the pinstriped sleeveless vest for Sunday home games.

To coincide with the move into Three Rivers Stadium in 1970, the team introduced pullover spandex uniforms, the first such team in baseball, and a look that would quickly be adopted by most other teams by the end of the decade. The Pirates ditched the pullover style in favor of the traditional button-down style in 1991, one of the last teams to switch.

The Pirates were also innovators in third jerseys. Even though it would be the Oakland A's that would beat them to having such jerseys, the Pirates, by 1977 had different uniform styles that included two different caps, two different undershirts, three different jerseys and three different pairs of trousers. They would actually rotate (and sometimes mix, with painful results) these styles daily until returning to the basic white and gray uniform ensemble in 1985.

In 1976, the National League celebrated its 100th anniversary. To coincide with it, certain NL teams wore old-style pillbox hats complete with horizontal pinstripes. After the season, the Pirates were the only team to adopt the hats permanently, (alternating between a black hat and a gold hat for several seasons until keeping the black hat in 1985) and kept the hat through the 1986 season, which would be Barry Bonds rookie season with the team. The hats, which recall the team's last World Series championship season (1979), remain popular items in the throwback market.

References

  1. ^ Pittsburgh Pirates | BaseballLibrary.com
  2. ^ a b Pirates official team history, part 1
  3. ^ a b c Purdy, Dennis (2006). The Team-by-Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. New York City: Workman. ISBN 0761139435. 
  4. ^ St. Louis trumps Pirates' rally, 4-3
  5. ^ Why is our baseball team called the Pirates? Pittsburgh City Paper, August 14, 2003.
  6. ^ DeValeria, Dennis and Jeanne Burke, Honus Wagner: A Biography. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995, p.177
  7. ^ John Perrotto (August 14, 2006). "Baseball Plog". Beaver County Times. http://www.timesonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17047895&BRD=2305&PAG=461&dept_id=478568&rfi=6. 
  8. ^ a b "Honoring First All-Minority Lineup". New York Times: p. Sports p. 2. September 17, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Royals make history with loss after 10 first-inning runs". Associated Press. August 24, 2006. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2560010. 
  10. ^ Paul Meyer (August 27, 2006). "The 10-run trail". http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06239/716661-63.stm. 
  11. ^ a b c Langosch, Jenifer (7 September 2009). "Bucs' loss to Cubs a historic one". pirates.com. MLB.com. http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090907&content_id=6838078&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  12. ^ Jim Caple. "Pittsburgh's gem rates the best". ESPN Page2. http://espn.go.com/page2/s/ballparks/pncpark.html=. 
  13. ^ Dejan Kovacevic (July 6, 2007). "Pirates' McClatchy to step down as CEO later this year". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07187/799784-63.stm. 
  14. ^ Dejan Kovacevic (September 7, 2007). "Pirates fire GM Littlefield; interim replacement is Graham". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.pittsburghpostgazette.com/pg/07250/815475-100.stm. 
  15. ^ Paul Meyer (September 16, 2007). "Pirates to make it official today: Coonelly is club's new president". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07256/817137-63.stm. 
  16. ^ Paul Meyer (September 26, 2007). "Pirates hire Huntington as general manager". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07268/820379-63.stm. 
  17. ^ http://www.timesonline.com/site/printerFriendly.cfm?brd=2305&dept_id=478568&newsid=18893313
  18. ^ Associated Press (November 6, 2007). "Former Pirates third-base coach succeeds Tracy as manager". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3095222/pg/07268/820379-63.stm. 
  19. ^ http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/sports/pirates/archive/s_581488.html
  20. ^ a b http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081124&content_id=3691650&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit
  21. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09154/974921-100.stm
  22. ^ "Pirates question timing of trades". ESPN. 2009-07-01. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4299138. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  23. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (22 July 2009). "Bucs send elder LaRoche to Red Sox". MLB.com. Pirates.com. http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090722&content_id=5995616&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  24. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (29 July 2009). "Bucs get top pitching prospect for Sanchez". MLB.com. Pirates.com. http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090729&content_id=6135008&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  25. ^ Muskat, Carrie (30 July 2009). "Cubs acquire lefties Grabow, Gorzelanny". MLB.com. Pirates.com. http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090730&content_id=6154396&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  26. ^ Oakland A's Fan Coalition - Athletics baseball enthusiasts dedicated to watching a winner
  27. ^ John Perrotto (August 14, 2006). "Baseball Plog". Beaver County Times. http://www.timesonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17047895&BRD=2305&PAG=461&dept_id=478568&rfi=6. 
  28. ^ Sporting News description and assertion of first combined extra-innings no hitter; Box score via Baseball Reference
  29. ^ http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/27896829/
  30. ^ http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081124&content_id=3690968&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit
  31. ^ Pirates Radio Network | pirates.com: Schedule
  32. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28297181/|1
  • Markusen, Bruce. The Team That Changed Baseball: Roberto Clemente and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. [1]. Yardley: Westholme Publishing. 2005. ISBN 1-59416-030-9
  • McCollister, John (1998). The Bucs!: The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lenexa: Addax Publishing Group. ISBN 1-886110-40-9. 
  • Nemec, David (2004). The Beer and Whisky League : The Illustrated History of the American Association—Baseball's Renegade Major League. Guilford: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-188-5. 

External links


Simple English

File:Pittsburgh Pirates Cap
The Pittsburgh Pirates logo

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a professional Major League Baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League. They have won five World Series championships. The Pirates are also often called the Bucs or the Buccos. This is because the word "buccaneer" is slang for pirate.

The Pirates had success in the early 1990s. However, more recently, the Pirates have not had success. In fact, the Pirates have not had a winning season in eighteen years.[1]

Contents

PNC Park

The Pirates play their home games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. PNC Park is next to the Allegheny River, and downtown Pittsburgh can be seen from the stadium.[2]

History

The Pittsburgh Pirates were formed in 1882. After playing five bad seasons, the Pirates renamed themselves to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. In 1890, the team was weakened when several of the players joined the much better Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players' League.

The Pirates won their first World Series in 1909, beating the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates would win World Series titles in 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979.

Some famous players for the Pirates have been Roberto Clemente, Ralph Kiner and Honus Wagner.

References

Other websites

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